Tuesday, June 26, 2007


It’s time to coin a new word. This one has been cropping up a lot in my life lately.

Crappenstance [crap-pun-stans]
Shitty random occurance.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ode to Flaming Hoops

I’m trying to get accepted into a graduate program at my local university. I don’t want to jinx my chances, or risk my job (did I mention that I work there too?) so I’ll not name where or which program other than to say it is a Master’s degree from the Education College.

Now, here’s my problem—paper work. I have to apply to the Graduate School and the Education College separately. (Document count 2) Obviously both have to approve me, but they have different criteria. Graduate School application fee $40, plus two first-class stamps. To save postage, I could have applied for the Graduate School online and walked my Education College application to the building, but I still had to get the check to the Graduate School. It was worth two stamps. (Out-of-pocket $40.82)

The Education College wants an additional ‘autobiographical sketch’, 5-7 pages of ‘who you are’, ‘what you want to be when you grow up’, ‘why do you want to be in our program’. (Document count 3) However it doesn’t stop there, they also require an additional unspecified example of writing. I sent in an old class paper (did I forget to mention that it has been more than ten years since I graduated and therefore ten years or more since I had written a paper; it was a really old paper). (Document count 4)

I also had to ask three people to write letters of recommendation on my behalf. (Document count 7) Gee-whiz, what is this, the Freemasons or local government; I can only get in if someone likes me well enough or I’ve pleased them on some level. What happened to merit? I guess it’s just a cigarette now…I just want to better myself. On the application it was suggested that for ease, I gave each person an addressed stamped envelope for the letters. (Out-of-pocket $42.05)

For the Graduate School, they want two copies of my transcript from every upper level school I’ve ever attended. I attended one other university before I transferred to this one and completed two baccalaureate degrees. Four bucks a pop at one U, and five bucks a pop at the other. (Document count 11—I counted each transcript, because I had to pay for each.) That’s two stamps plus $18; they won’t let you hand deliver transcripts; that’s not official. (Out-of-pocket $60.87) And I don’t even know yet if they’ll take me.

The Graduate School requires a 3.0 grade point on the last 60hrs of credit classes. The Education College requires a 2.7 cumulative grade point. I slid by the 2.7, but didn’t quite make it to 3.0, so because of this I have to take the GRE (That’ll be $140, thank you kindly.) or an equivalent test. (Document count 12—Yes, I'm counting the test.) Since I’m applying to the Education College the MAT (Miller Analogies Test) is an acceptable alternative ($60, less than half of the GRE, wow.).

However, the soonest testing date for the MAT is late July and the results won’t be back for four weeks. I called the Graduate School and that is unacceptable without someone from the Education College writing a letter on my behalf, basically okaying my admittance tentatively until the results come in. (Document count 13)

(Out-of-pocket $200.87 for GRE route or $120.87 for MAT) At this point the GRE is probably the most likely. All this just to see if I'm worthy. I always heard that opinions were free. Hardy-Har-Har.

Why are there all of these flaming hoops to jump through? If I want to go to grad school, why can’t they just accept me and let me sink or swim based on the work I do? They’ll get the money from my first semester anyway at least; isn’t that enough incentive to cut some of the crap and just let me in. If I can’t make the grades then I’m out. That is pretty simple, but this hoop hopping is just discouraging before I even start. Bureaucracy, check and balances, what ever you want to call it, it feel like a test to see how badly I want it, not whether or not I would succeed.

However, there is more; on the bright side, since I work here, I get an employee discount when I take classes. By now you’ve already guessed, another form. (Document count 14) Oh but wait, to pay by payroll deduction is another form. (Document count 15)

Friday, June 8, 2007

So Long Paris, Don’t Bother Writing; I wish I had the NASA channel.

Americans used to care about the space program. No more.

I remember when a Space Shuttle launch was a huge all-day media event. Our school would postpone regular class and wheel in a TV, and we’d watch it all day glued to the screen. From a camera far they would show the shuttle pointed skyward mounted of the booster rockets attached to the giant scaffolding, and then they would pan over and show the countdown clock. It really ramped up the tension. The reporters would occupy the pre-launch time by talking to NASA representatives about what will happen and what they were going to experiment on when they reached space. The giant robotic arm that placed the Hubble telescope in orbit was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. The astronauts were national heroes to all children and adults. We all went with them in our imaginations.

Today Atlantis is ready for launch at 6:38 CT and the weather looks good. This mission, they will continue the construction of the ISS (i.e. the International Space Station). It is an orbiting space station that shows that cooperation between nations is possible and reinvests hope in the future of the Human race in these very troubled times.
During this eleven day mission, they will attach a new section to the station and a new pair of solar panels. And this launch is especially important because in February a hail storm ruined the foam insulation on the external fuel tank and dented it like a barn roof in Kansas. Engineers and specialist have been working since then to repair the damage. From pre-launch to touch down and everything in between is an AMAZING feat of technical ability. They are doing things never done before, and all involved deserve our full respect and attention. Reaching out and colonizing space is our ONLY hope for the ultimate survival of the Human race, and since landing on the moon and then Skylab, ISS is the biggest step we’ve taken to that ultimate goal.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut; kids today want to be rich tarts.

However today, I can’t find any coverage on the major TV news networks because Paris Hilton has been ordered back to jail to server the full original 45-day sentence after she was allowed by the sheriff to skip out with some mental disability after doing four days and do the rest of her time at her house. Ouch; that must be a horrible place to soak in a tub and drink booze.
She’s being sent to county jail people; it’s not prison like Martha Stewart. And it’s (twin Towers Correctional Center) even a separate jail for rich people, politicians, celebrities, and cops gone bad. It is separate from the regular criminals doing their time because they couldn’t afford high price lawyers.
On Fox News there is live video feed from helicopters and rooftops showing the police car escorts, at least three, and Geraldo Rivera is commentating. How much money is LA County spending on this? And you know it’s frigging news if Geraldo is there. You’ll notice that he is not covering the War on Terror anymore since he gave away military plans on live TV.

Similar to the word ‘Diva’, the word ‘News’ used to mean something. No longer.

My information about the launch was gleaned from the CNN story:

My so long Paris don’t bother writing information was boringly gathered from Fox News TV channel…oh and Paris cried for her mommy. Sweet.

So that no lovers of Fox News get mad, after more than 3 hours of live Paris coverage, they are now (3:29CT) talking about the launch of Atlantis, however they called Buzz Aldrin (former NASA Astronaut, Retired USAF Colonel, and Ph.D.) and are asking his opinion on the shuttle launch being overshadowed by Paris Hilton. They took time out of this national treasure of a man to ask his opinion on a rich tart. Shameful.
After the commercial break…they returned to Paris coverage. Sigh.